The next version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer will render pages so strictly according to web standards that a large number of pages optimized for it will appear broken. In a posting on the official IE blog, platform architect Chris Wilson stated that IE 8 would need to implement a system by which website designers can use HTML meta tags to instruct IE to render them using correct web standards or IE's previous flawed standards. "In many cases, these sites would have worked better if they had served IE 7 the same content and style sheets they were serving when visited with a non-IE browser, but they had 'fixed their content' for IE. Sites didn't work, and users experienced problems" he has written.
The shift to IE 7 in 2006 caused a huge number of websites to be displayed incorrectly even if they looked fine on other browsers, since designers anticipated that Microsoft would continue to follow its own standards implementations schemes, according to the blog post. Since websites often serve individually tweaked versions of pages to users depending on which browser they use, only the IE version of those pages were affected. Now, IE 8 is expected to be even more restrict with web standards, which could result in an even larger number of such website "breakages" in its efforts to encourage web developers to follows standards.
The proposed meta tag would mean that web pages would have to specifically request the browser to render them in a "standards mode", while pages without the metatag would be rendered exactly the same way as IE 7 render them.